Sunday, 5 September 2010

Avatar: Special Edition 3D

Avatar Special Edition comes to us 9 months or so after the original edition hit our screens and I'm very happy it did because due to my wedding, honeymoon and a busy festive season, I never made it into a screening of the movie at the time. So this weekend, on one of our sporadic solo dates (where Norngirl and I head to the cinema together but go to see different films which start around the same time) I jumped at the chance to see it for the very first time.

That chance came as we made the most of what proved to be an odd day. We took ourselves along to the £4 a ticket (half the price we last paid to see a 3D movie so thought it worth a mention), 2pm matinees at Movie House Cinema in the City Side Mall (Yorkgate). Norngirl went to see 'The Switch' and I donned the 3D glasses handed to me by the staff at the door and entered James Cameron's weird and wonderful moon world of Pandora.

I wasn't too sure what to expect as I'd somehow managed to avoid reading or hearing the ins and out of the plot and don't worry, I'll try not to spoil it in case you're still in the situation I had been and are considering going to see it for the first time but suffice to say I was pleasantly surprised. So if you've not seen it yet and don't want to risk knowing more than you might want to, just stop reading here.

As it got going I was slightly worried that Avatar was going to be 3 hours of gun touting and other needless action in 3D. Although there is a fair bit of that, thankfully my worry was alleviated as the plot started to unfold and the thoughtful and imaginative concept of this sci-fi universe revealed itself. Beautifully detailed, the environment that the characters found themselves in has to be the greatest draw of the movie. I hardly blinked the whole time as my eyes were glued to the screen, only as I got that stinging sensation of dry eyes was I able to override the desire to block my view with my eye lids for more than a split second.

Sadly though, some of the characters, especially the bad guys, seem ironically one dimensional for a 3D movie, this was personified with the main villain Colonel Miles Quaritch whose character had no depth and might as well have been a robot from a bad b-movie.

Thinking about the plot itself, I'm probably not alone in thinking that it is pretty much the Star Wars trilogy meets Pocahontas. Oddly though this is not a bad mix, especially with a sprinkle of more modern scientific thinking than those two stories which pre-date it. The creatures and technology used are believable given the understanding of the environment we're provided and the science fiction doesn't seem too out there, its almost a soft venture into a new world using concepts used before but well fashioned into quite a gem. I thought the cinematography was brilliant and made up for any short comings in the character development, after all, Avatar is long enough without the need to dig deeper into the various personalities of what turns out to be plenty of characters, most of whom I can't remember the names of anyway.

As a sci-fi and environmental science nerd with a penchant for this relatively new technology in the mainstream, it was probably something I couldn't help but like. I'm very glad it was re-released as it gave me a chance to enjoy it in the way it was intended. I'm not too sure how it's charms would translate to 2D on a DVD at home as most of the enjoyment came from the sheer spectacle and taking you out of this world and into another. Avatar's tag line of 'Enter the World' does not disappoint or mislead.

Moving onto the difference between Avatar and this the special edition of Avatar; I came to read afterwards that there is 9 minutes of extra footage added such as the romantic entwining, a hunt and a death scene. Those scenes did actually stick out in my mind and do seem worth re-adding even if they are just a drop in the sea of this movie, they do probably add a little extra understanding.

Talking of the sea. It sounds like there is a sequel in the pipe line which will take us to the oceans of Pandora. Count me in for a trip to see that!

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